Natural Ways to Balance Hypothyroidism

Natural Ways to Balance Hypothyroidism

With nearly 14 million people suffering from Hashimoto’s disease in the United States, understanding how to balance your thyroid through healthy eating is essential to overall health. Thyroid conditions are so widespread that many people don’t even know they suffer from one. This is because they are often fairly easy to misdiagnose. The good news is that with some dietary and lifestyle changes, you can support your thyroid and entire body all at the same time.

With nearly 14 million people suffering from Hashimoto’s disease in the United States, understanding how to balance your thyroid through healthy eating is essential to overall health. Thyroid conditions are so widespread that many people don’t even know they suffer from one. This is because they are often fairly easy to misdiagnose. The good news is that with some dietary and lifestyle changes, you can support your thyroid and entire body all at the same time.

Let’s start by talking about what the thyroid is and then talk about some of the symptoms of low thyroid.

What is the Thyroid?

The thyroid is a large gland that is located in the neck. It secretes hormones that control the metabolism, and is often referred to as a butterfly-shaped organ. (1)

Thyroid Functions

The thyroid plays such an important role in overall health. Without having proper thyroid function, your body would experience imbalances in many other areas as well. Here are some of the essential body functions the thyroid helps to regulate.

  • Metabolism
  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Weight
  • Muscle strength
  • Menstruation
  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol

These are some of the most important body functions, so as you can imagine having any sort of imbalance in the thyroid would cause widespread issues in the body.

What is Low Thyroid & What Are the Symptoms?

Hypothyroidism is often referred to as low thyroid, and hypothyroidism happens to be a leading cause of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Low thyroid occurs when there is too little T3 and T4 present in the body which can lead to a number of unwanted symptoms including:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Dry skin
  • Cold intolerance
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Heavy menstrual cycles
  • Joint pain

Natural Ways to Support Thyroid Health

Since the thyroid plays such an important role in our overall health, it is important to support the thyroid however we can. There are natural ways to do that which include both dietary changes and natural supplements.

Iodine: When talking about thyroid conditions, iodine is usually the number one supplement that comes up. It is a key nutrient when it comes to thyroid function. However, more research is showing the need to use caution when using iodine in those with thyroid conditions. This is because too much iodine can potentially lead to conditions like Hashimoto’s (3). Some practitioners will still use iodine supplementation for thyroid patients, but it is very important to balance iodine intake with selenium which we will talk about next. If you are worried about your iodine intake, it is best to speak with a healthcare practitioner before supplementation and to discuss some food-based options of iodine as well. A great way to get iodine into your diet is through adding some kelp flakes or dried seaweed to salad. However, because there is such as delicate balance with having too much or too little iodine, be sure to check with your doctor first.

Selenium: Selenium is one of the best ways to support thyroid health. This trace mineral is needed to support the production of thyroid hormones, and some studies have found that selenium reduces thyroid autoimmune antibodies. (3) The other important thing to know about selenium is that it is essential to have the proper balance between iodine and selenium as having too much iodine can cause further thyroid issues. Selenium supplementation can help prevent thyroid damage in the case of too much iodine. (4) This is why the balance between the two is crucial. It may also be beneficial to get selenium from the diet instead of supplementation since you can get enough selenium in your diet from eating just a couple of Brazil nuts each day!

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are great for reducing inflammation which is an important part of supporting thyroid health. This is especially true if you are suffering from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which happens to be an inflammatory condition. You can supplement with a high-quality fish oil, or get some wild-caught fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel into your diet a couple of times per week.

Probiotics: Probiotics are super important because gut health is very much connected to thyroid health. The majority of our immune system resides in the gut, so if an autoimmune condition is present such as Hashimoto’s, it is very important to support the digestive system. Probiotics can help support the healthy bacteria in the gut which is essential for immune health and reducing inflammation. Try adding some probiotic-rich foods to your diet like sauerkraut, kimchi, and unsweetened coconut yogurt.

An Anti-inflammatory Thyroid Diet: We have already talked about some excellent foods to add to your diet to support the thyroid. Foods high in selenium like Brazil nuts, probiotic-rich foods, wild-caught salmon, these are all excellent choices. The take-home message when it comes to diet is to focus on getting enough anti-inflammatory food into your meals. When dealing with hypothyroidism, or low thyroid, you want to prevent Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. To do so, you will want to reduce your overall inflammation and supplement appropriately. Here are some other excellent anti-inflammatory food options you may want to consider adding to your diet to get you started on the right track.

  • Berries
  • Avocados
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Flax & chia seed
  • Walnuts

Enjoying a healthy diet is essential to balancing thyroid health. Start making dietary changes, and speak with your doctor about some thyroid-supporting supplements if you suspect you may be dealing with a thyroid condition.

Resources

Brady. Hypothyroidism.

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid-nodules/thyroid-gland-controls-bodys-metabolism-how-it-works-symptoms-hyperthyroi

Milas. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Fact and Tips.

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hashimotos-thyroiditis/hashimotos-thyroiditis-facts-tips

McCulloch. A Different View on a Common Autoimmune Disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

https://hypothyroidmom.com/a-different-view-on-a-common-autoimmune-disease-hashimotos-thyroiditis/

Dach. Hashimoto’s, Selenium and Iodine, Part Two.

http://jeffreydachmd.com/hashimotos-selenium-and-iodine-part-two/

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